Colorado Potato Beetle—Leptinotarsa decemlineata

The common black and yellow-striped "potato bug" is the most serious insect pest of potatoes. Both the striped beetle and the black-spotted, red larva feed on potato leaves. Their damage can greatly reduce yield and even kill plants. In addition to potato, Colorado potato beetle can be a serious pest of tomato, eggplant, and pepper.

Colorado potato beetle larva
Larvae are dark red and humpbacked with a dark head and two rows of black spots along the sides of the abdomen. They often feed in groups and damage can be severe. The larval stage lasts two to three weeks.

Colorado potato beetle adult
Adult beetles are approximately ½ inch long with an oval, convex body. There are 10 alternating yellow and black stripes on the wing covers.

Colorado potato beetle eggs
Female beetles lay orange-yellow eggs in batches of about two dozen on the underside of the leaves. Each female can lay 500 or more eggs over a 4 to 5 week period.

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Identification and Control Information

[Photos, left to right: Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service,; Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,; Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,]